ROJAS Juan Facundo
congresos y reuniones científicas
Cartographies and "scars" in the territory. Looking to the past of mining projects in order to understand the socio-environmental present.
Conferencia; 2nd Austrian Conference on International Resource Politics: Resources for a social-ecological transformation; 2019
Institución organizadora:
Institute of Geography, University of Innsbruck; Department of Political Science, University of Vienna; Institute of Social Ecology (SEC), University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
Resumen: current discussions on the installation of big mining projects and hydraulic fracture in Argentina are associated with the imaginaries of something called ?development?. In our research, we focus on failed extractive projects and compare experiences in western Argentina. We deal with the landscapes, footprints, scars and rubble of the mining and oil territories in the eastern slope of the Andes from the perspective of environmental history. We aim to analyse the territory production of abandoned or re-functionalized infrastructures from the standpoint of landscape geographies and political ecology.Famatina and Capillitas, in the provinces of La Rioja and Catamarca, are linked to strong frustrations and unfulfilled promises, still visible today in physical milestones. In the case of Malargüe, in the south of Mendoza, the population still shows hope for this type of projects (mining and oil), reacting in a different way to the failures of the past. Abandoned and ruined infrastructures are in any case associated with future discourses and practices that continuously reorganize landscapes and territories. The current patterns of destruction/production are resignified, always returning to the landmarks and scars of territory and memory.The provinces of La Rioja and Catamarca are traditionally peripheral and without any important industry. In the late 19th century, mining was the activity that would bring about modern changes. This sector was expected to become the regional engine of growth, and even to strengthen the weak mining identity of these valleys. On the other hand, in the beginning of the 20th century, the south of Mendoza became a frontier of expansion for mining activities and oil exploitation. The Second World War gave strategic importance to the region and the products exploited there (mainly oil and coal). However, the illusion of ?progress? was soon over, as were most of the projects.Based on documentary sources (from the 19th and 20th centuries) and interviews with different social and political actors of the current socio-environmental conflicts, we tackle the three mentioned cases in west Argentina. In all cases, the effect (material and symbolic) of ancient mining and oil landscapes is still powerful, but are perceived by the population in different ways ? supporting or rejecting these activities in the present. The aim is to investigate and compare different case studies in order to confront significant experiences from the past with current mining or oil projects (but now, using modern technologies). This shall contribute to a better understanding of social-ecological conflicts in the present.